The Big Butler Fair kicked off the harness racing fair season on June 24th and 25th, with the first 2:00 miles in its history and several drivers notching multiple wins on both days of the event, but the spotlight shined on 20-year-old Steven Fedokovitz, who celebrated the first win of his career, guiding Wide Eye Charlie to the victory.
Butler Fair Photo
Wide Eye Charlie

“I drove him (Wide Eye Charlie) most of the summer last year when I got my license, but never quite was close enough to get the win last year,” he said. “There were a lot of upsetting times. There were times I thought I had a chance, but it didn’t work out that way. Honestly, when I won, I didn’t think I was going to win that day. I thought I’d be more like second. Third maybe. Especially after being hung the whole mile, I thought I messed up. But in the end it all panned out and it worked out in my favor.”

Heading into the Winner’s Circle was bittersweet for the young driver. “My grandfather passed away in January, so there was a bunch of mixed emotions. My family was there, and some people were crying, some people were laughing and cheering. It was a lot of mixed feelings. It really was a relief, kind of, to get my first win out of the way, but still sad that my grandfather couldn’t be here to see it. I was happy, though. I enjoyed it.”
His grandfather, Dennis Youshock, was a driving force in his career, and he developed his love of horses at an early age. “It’s just one of those things I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid and I just stuck with it. My great-grandfather started it all and then my grandfather bought into it; he did it on the side. There’s pictures of me as a baby with my grandfather and the horses.”
Even when he was in school, Steven headed to the barn after classes to lend a hand. “I would help my grandfather get hay, and do barn work.”
Today, Steven works with Aaron Johnston, stabled at the Butler Fairgrounds, but upon graduation, he didn’t immediately head into a career with the horses. “I ended up getting a job as a paid firefighter, and then I tore my ACL, and gave that up, and halfway toward the end of my recovery, Aaron texted me and offered me a job with the horses. I took it, and here I am, two years later!”
He’s at the barn before 6:00am every day, and his busy day begins. “I do water buckets and set feed, and then Aaron and I jog and train. That’s a normal day at the barn, and if we’re racing, we hop in the truck and go to either the Meadows; Pocono Downs; Northfield; or the fairs. Whatever is going on.”
Photo Credit to Steven Fedokovitz

Steven enjoys the extensive traveling and going to different tracks. “I enjoy being on the road, going to different places. It’s something different.” And adjusting to different track surfaces? “You have to work with what you got! Work with what is put in front of you.”

The lessons he learned and the advice he received from his grandfather are invaluable to him, and he’s also thankful for others who have helped him along the way. “Definitely Aaron Johnston; Brady Brown; Shawn Johnston; Steve Schoeffel; and Gary Johnston gives me some advice and pointers.”
Steven is looking forward to a busy summer of racing on the Pennsylvania Fair Circuit, particularly Stoneboro, where he grew up and where his grandfather kept his horse growing up. “That’s like my true home track, I guess you can call it. It brings back memories of being a kid.”
He hopes that other young horsemen follow their dream of a career in harness racing. “If you can find someone who is willing to take you under their wing and help you out like Aaron did for me, it can be worth it. It’s tough, though, especially if you don’t have the back support.”
The future is definitely bright for this up-and-coming driver!
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